County Public Health Report ~ 1/10

The following is a summary of the presentation during the Public Health briefings at this week’s Board of County Commissioners meeting made by Jefferson and Clallam County Public Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry. Also Willie Bence, Director, Director of Emergency Management, gave a report. The summary below was provided by and used with the permission of Jefferson County Government.

In today’s address, Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry said the healthcare system is experiencing shortages of beds, shortages of staff and shortages of tests and medications. She urged individuals to get vaccinated, wear a mask and limit social contacts for the next few weeks – especially limiting the amount of time spent indoors with others. She said traveling by air is not a good idea at the moment and that supporting restaurants by ordering take-out or eating outside is preferable to indoor dining. “If you are fully vaccinated, you are well protected against the worst of COVID-19,” she said. “We’re seeing good protection against hospitalization for the folks who are fully vaccinated and even better protection for those who are boosted. So it really does still make a huge difference.” She suggested upgrading your mask, using well-fitted KN95 or N-95 masks. The county has a supply of these models and they be distributing them through local businesses, grocery stores and schools. “The very best mask you can wear is the on that you will wear continuously, “ Dr. Berry said.

In her weekly Commissioners address, Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry predicted that Jefferson will reach peak COVID-19 transmission at the end of January, with peak hospitalizations through mid-February. Dr. Berry said the COVID-19 news for this week is “not good,” with incredibly rapid rises in cases throughout the country. The Omicron variant is “incredibly contagious and a lot of us will contract it in the next couple weeks.” In Jefferson, cases are rising rapidly. She said our case rate is 795 per 100,000, which is the highest it has been. As of today, there 125 new cases for a total of 1,825 cases, with five people hospitalized. Forty of those new cases are in the Olympic Corrections Center in West Jefferson County. Nationally, cases are up 215%, with 650,000 cases reported each day and hospitalizations up 80%. “As crazy as these numbers sound right now, we anticipate that they will be worse for the next couple of weeks and the strain on our healthcare system will be worse for actually even longer,” she said.

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Allison Berry and Willie Bence by emailing [email protected]. Note: The weekly deadline for these to be submitted is on Fridays at noon, to be answered at the following meeting (Tuesday, January 18, due to the MLK holiday).